When I’m out with friends, or family it doesn’t take long for everyone to start talking about the weather. Once the conversation gets underway the chances are, we end up on the subject of climate change. In general, we always talk about how hot (or cold) it’s been, and how the seasons are all messed up. The thing is, we’re forgetting one element of the weather that can really cause us humans a problem, and that’s the level of humidity we’re exposed to.
This may come as a surprise to you, but I guess that’s because we’re more concerned with how uncomfortable it is to sweat. In fact, for me, there’s nothing worse than having my hair stick to my face, and my pants stick to my legs! Plus, should we really be worried about it? Well, have a read below and make your own mind up.
We’re all Natural Air-Conditioners
Some of you reading this may remember the summer of 1995 when an unexpected heatwave hit Chicago. The people of this great city experienced temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and unfortunately over 730 people lost their lives. Now, we can be forgiven for thinking things like heat stroke caused these deaths, but it seems there’s a deadlier killer to look out for in the form of humidity.
We sweat so we can cool our bodies, and when humidity levels rise, we’re not able to do this as efficiently (if at all in the wrong conditions). This is because there is far more water in the air, and that stops surface sweat from being able to evaporate. The result can be lethargy which is something we’ve all experienced. However, at it’s worst it will cause organs to fail, result in sickness and could even end-up killing you!
Putting the Danger Into Perspective
If you’re having trouble understanding this issue as being one of the reasons to reduce humidity levels, let me run these facts by you. If you experience a temperature of say, 92f with a relative humidity of 40%, the real feel temperature is about 94f. However, if the relative humidity level is say, 90% the real feel is a massive 131f! If you’re interested in knowing how to study the level of humidity, have a go at testing the “wet-bulb” temperature.
Know the Levels you can Cope With
Many studies have been carried out in lab conditions, and it’s been determined that once the wet-bulb temperature reaches just under 90f, people will begin to suffer. That said, many people would start to display symptoms of intense discomfort before this. What’s even more worrying is scientists have predicted that by the 2070’s we will have to live with levels like this for up to 2 days per year. In places like North Eastern India, this rises to between 3 and 5 days. This is more than likely because it’s so densely populated. But, if you live in the South Eastern part of America, you run the risk of displaying the symptoms mentioned above.
What can be Done?
Well, you could be one of those people who thinks your grandkids will sort it all out, and why should you worry because you won’t be here in 50 years from now. Or, you could take these statistics seriously and start to think about your own carbon footprint. Sure, there will be artificial cooling systems around, and they’re likely to be more advanced. However, do you really want future generations facing a life indoors for fear of losing their lives by going outdoors at certain times of the year? The answer is probably no, so doing something about the problem now is the most sensible approach. We can’t turn back time, but we can make sure climate change doesn’t become any worse by reducing harmful greenhouse gases.